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Missouri judge fines 4 NFL owners for not turning over financial information

Panthers Cowboys Football
Posted at 2:56 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 16:56:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A St. Louis Circuit Court judge four National Football League owners and set a date for a show-cause hearing over possible contempt of court as part of a civil case involving the relocation of the St. Louis Rams in 2016.

Judge Christopher McGraugh took Kansas City Chiefs' Clark Hunt, Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, and New York Giants John Mara to task Wednesday during a discovery hearing in St. Louis’ lawsuit against the NFL for breach of contract in moving the Rams to Los Angeles.

Mara was fined $8,000, Jones was fined $6,000, and Hunt and Kraft received $5,000 penalties.

The latest wrangling centered around delays in the owners providing financial documents as compelled by the court.

The four owners also were ordered to reimburse the plaintiffs approximately $25,000 in attorney fees.

The show-cause hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, but it’s unclear if Hunt or any of the other owners will be required to appear in person.

McGraugh also expects attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants to hash out remaining discovery items before the Dec. 3 hearing.

Initially filed in April 2017, the case is scheduled for a jury trial beginning Jan. 10, 2022.

The four owners failed to comply with a court order to make financial documents available as part of the lawsuit, according to KSDK.

Hunt, Mara, and Kraft were part of a committee exploring opportunities to return a team to Los Angeles. Still, Jones led the charge to override the committee’s recommendation and paved the way for Kroenke to move the Rams to Inglewood, California.

According to court filings, Hunt provided ownership documents for the Chiefs and Mustang Advisory Group LLC. and claimed a net worth less than the income on two tax returns.

Mara only provided information about his ownership of the Giants and refused to provide an estimated net worth. At the same time, Kraft and Jones failed to turn over information related to businesses that appear on their tax returns.

According to the city's attorneys, names and financial numbers are redacted as part of the public court filings.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who also is part of the lawsuit, provided more than 23,000 financial documents, KSDK reported.

The Chiefs deferred comment on the matter to the NFL. Attorneys representing Hunt declined to comment on the fines levied Wednesday.

The Rams moved from St. Louis in 2016. A year later, the city, St. Louis County, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority sued the NFL and its owners, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for alleged violations of the NFL’s relocation policy.

Tod Palmer at KSHB first reported this story.